Mythical creatures have long been the subject of great fascination for many cultures. And while tales of magnificent dragons, sea serpents, and unicorns are still sometimes passed down from generation to generation, it’s usually for entertainment purposes or to spark the imagination of a child. Mythical creatures are just that: mythical.
Even though there are no unicorns in the world (that we know of anyway), thanks to Dr. Bhagvan Antle of the T.I.G.E.R.S. Sanctuary based in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, we now have the next best thing.
Dr. Antle recently allowed two of his most incredible sanctuary members, a white tiger named Ivory and a white lion named Saraswati, to breed. The result was four of the rarest—and cutest—creatures on the planet that just might make you do a double-take!
Ivory and Saraswati are a white lion and tiger, respectively, living at the T.I.G.E.R.S. Sanctuary in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. While it is uncommon in the wild, these rare cats do mate from time to time. These two mated under the supervision of the sanctuary’s staff, and the results were, needless to say, adorable…
Meet Ivory and Saraswati’s four new cubs: Yeti, Odlin, Sampson, and Apolo! These little balls of fluff are truly unique. Not only is it rare for a tiger and a lion to mate, but there are only about 1,200 white tigers and 300 white lions left in the world—so a union of the two is even more unlikely!
These brothers are ligers—lion and tiger hybrids—and they are almost never found outside of captivity. Ligers are known for their deep love of swimming (something they pick up from the tiger side) and their extremely social personalities.
These four are likely the first white ligers to ever be born in history. And while they’re just as cute as any other cubs, their rare genealogy makes them even more special. Look at their unique cream-colored coats! And those spots!
They may be small now, but researchers believe that these liger cubs will eventually grow to be as tall as 10 feet by the time they are just two years old. That’s pretty big! And they won’t be light, either. The sanctuary’s staff might be able to hold them now, but soon, these cubs will reach a hefty 750 pounds each!
You might think that 750 pounds is a lot for an animal, but that’s a pretty fair estimate when you’re crossing a lion and a tiger. You can see how this liger—though not white like the cubs or their parents—is still pretty massive in size.
Just look at how huge this liger is compared to her handler! She might be sitting down, but she’s still as tall as her human friend. Despite the fact that she’s so big—and that she’s (supposedly) a ferocious predator—she’s very much a mama’s girl. Just look at her sipping from a baby bottle!
But no liger can quite compare to the cubs’ own uncle, Hercules, who is officially the largest living cat on Earth. Hercules may look like a fearsome big cat, but he’s really just a giant pushover who loves hanging out with his handlers and his new tiny nephews at the sanctuary.
Thankfully, these liger cubs have a couple of years before they reach their uncle’s size. Until that day comes, they can relish all of the joys of being teeny tiny kittens! Just look at how much they love to frolic and play with each other.
The big cat sanctuary where these adorable babies make their home does some truly amazing work. If you want to see the cubs in action, make sure you watch the entire video below! Ligers like these don’t come around too often…
Ligers, like most hybrids, may not be able to reproduce, so these cubs could be the last of their kind. This means they’re just as rare as they are beautiful!
Share these ligers’ story with your friends below!